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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 6032306, 11 pages
Review Article

Targeting Glial Mitochondrial Function for Protection from Cerebral Ischemia: Relevance, Mechanisms, and the Role of MicroRNAs

1Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5117, USA
2Department of Anesthesiology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, 253 Industrial Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province 510280, China

Received 24 June 2016; Revised 21 August 2016; Accepted 31 August 2016

Academic Editor: Adriana M. Cassina

Copyright © 2016 Le Li and Creed M. Stary. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Astrocytes and microglia play crucial roles in the response to cerebral ischemia and are effective targets for stroke therapy in animal models. MicroRNAs (miRs) are important posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression that function by inhibiting the translation of select target genes. In astrocytes, miR expression patterns regulate mitochondrial function in response to oxidative stress via targeting of Bcl2 and heat shock protein 70 family members. Mitochondria play an active role in microglial activation, and miRs regulate the microglial neuroinflammatory response. As endogenous miR expression patterns can be altered with exogenous mimics and inhibitors, miR-targeted therapies represent a viable intervention to optimize glial mitochondrial function and improve clinical outcome following cerebral ischemia. In the present article, we review the role that astrocytes and microglia play in neuronal function and fate following ischemic stress, discuss the relevance of mitochondria in the glial response to injury, and present current evidence implicating miRs as critical regulators in the glial mitochondrial response to cerebral ischemia.